Undergraduate Course: Islamic Theology: Classic and Contemporary Perspectives (DIVI10009)
|School||School of Divinity
||College||College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
|Credit level (Normal year taken)||SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate)
||Availability||Available to all students
|Summary||The course introduces students to diverse perspectives and major debates about God and the world in Islamic theology from both the classical and contemporary periods.
The course introduces students to diverse perspectives and major debates in Islamic theology from the classical and contemporary periods. The course provides an in-depth understanding of the major schools of theology in both the classical Sunni and Shia traditions, and examines how new forms of theological analysis have emerged in the modern and post-colonial period. Topics may include, but are not limited to, the unity and attributes of God, the relationship between reason and revelation, divine power and human freedom, the eternality of the Qur'an, prophethood, the Imamate and political community, the problem of evil, and religious pluralism. Students will have the opportunity to read selections from major primary texts in translation and also engage with burgeoning secondary literature in the field of Islamic theology.
The course will begin with a two-week study of the origins and history of Islamic theology, examining the emergence of different schools and how these thinkers engaged with the Qur'an, philosophy, and reason. After introducing this historical background, the course will then be organized thematically around key topics in Islamic thought. The course will always include an analysis of the three following themes: the unity and attributes of God, prophetology and the Qur'an, and human freedom. The other themes to be studied will vary from year to year and may include the caliphate and umma, the problem of evil, social and economic justice, religious pluralism, gender and embodiment, mysticism, and the law.
Student Learning Experience Information
The course will include one hour of seminar discussion, with in depth analysis of both primary and secondary literature, and then will be followed by a one-hour lecture to prepare students for the next week's material. The lecture aims to provide students with the necessary background and framing of the course readings in order for them to be better analyze and evaluate the readings and prepare for the next week's reading. In addition, the students will be able to extend their learning through the Learn site, which will include links to podcasts, short videos, and blogs on the themes of the course.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
||Other requirements|| None
Information for Visiting Students
|High Demand Course?
Course Delivery Information
|Academic year 2022/23, Available to all students (SV1)
|Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info)
Lecture Hours 22,
Feedback/Feedforward Hours 2,
Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4,
Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours
|Assessment (Further Info)
|Additional Information (Assessment)
||40% Course work: as follows:
In Class Presentation, 10%: Each student will present a short presentation on a key aspect from the field of Islamic Theology.
Essay, 30%: Students will write a 2,000 word essay on a major figure, theme, or debate in Islamic Theology. Students will engage the course material and pursue their own research to craft their essay. The course manager will provide a list of questions from which students may choose.
A two-hour exam, scheduled during the exam diet, where students will answer 3 questions from a list of 9 possible options.
Students will receive feedback on their presentations in the week following their presentations. Each student will have the opportunity to send in an outline of their essay to received formative feedback from the course manager two weeks before their essay is due. Finally, the course will have a revision session before the final exam.
|No Exam Information
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
- Explain the major approaches in Islamic theology to the relationship between revelation and reason
- Clearly and critically present the major arguments and perspectives of a Muslim theologian or school of thought on a key theological topic
- Identify and articulate what makes theology and/or philosophy distinctively Islamic
- Compare and contrast how different Islamic theological perspectives are influenced by their historical and social contexts
|Indicative Bibliography |
The course will change slightly from year to year, depending on the course manager and the subject matter. All material in the indicative bibliography will be used in the first running, with * as primary or required reading.
Abduh, Muhammad. Theology of Unity. Translated by Ishaq Musa'ad and Kenneth Cragg. (Islamic Book Trust, 1996). *
Abrahamov, Binyamin. Islamic Theology: Traditionalism and Rationalism. (Edinburgh University Press, 1998). *
Abu Zayd, Nasr Hamid. Critique of Religious Discourse. Translated by Jonathan Wright. (Yale University Press, 2018).
Afsaruddin, Asma. Striving in the Path of God: Jihad and Martyrdom in Islamic Thought (Oxford University Press, 2013).
Aslan, Ednan (ed.). Muslima Theology: The Voices of Muslim Women Theologians (Peter Lang, 2013). *
Chowdhury, Safaruk. Islamic Theology and the Problem of Evil. (American University of Cairo Press, 2021). *
Farahat, Omar. The Foundations of Norms in Islamic Jurisprudence and Theology (Cambridge University Press, 2019).
Al-Faruqi, Ismail Raji. Al-Tawhid: Its Implications for Thought and Life. (International Institute for Islamic Thought, 2000).
Galadari, Abdulla. Qur'anic Hermeneutics: Between Science, History, and the Bible (Bloomsbury, 2018).
Al-Ghazali, Abu Hamid. Moderation in Belief. Translated by Aladdin M Yaqub (University of Chicago Press, 2013). *
-------. The Principles of the Creed: Book 2 of the Revival of the Religious Sciences. Translated by Khalid Williams (Fons Vitae, 2016).
Halverson, Jeffry R. Theology and Creed in Sunni Islam: The Muslim Brotherhood, Asharism, and Political Sunnism (Palgrave, 2010). *
Harvey, Ramon. Transcendent God, Rational World (Edinburgh University Press, 2021). *
Hassan, Laura. Asharism Encounters Avicennism: Sayf al-Dn al-mid on Creation (Brill, 2020).
Hoover, Jon. Ibn Taymiyya: Makers of the Muslim World, (OneWorld Acadamic, 2019).
Jackson, Sherman. Islam and the Problem of Black Suffering (Oxford University Press, 2009). *
Al-Juwayni, Imam al-Haramayn. A Guide to Conclusive Proofs for the Principles of Belief. Translated by Paul E Walker (Garnet Publishing, 2000). *
Khalil, Mohammad Hassan. Islam and the Fate of Others. (Oxford University Press, 2013). *
Nagel, Tilman. The History of Islamic Theology: From Muhammad to the Present (Markus Weiner Publishing, 2000).
Nguyen, Martin. Modern Muslim Theology: Engaging God and the World with Faith and Imagination (Rowman & Littlefield, 2019). *
Rahman, Fazlur. Islam and Modernity: Transformation of an Intellectual Tradition (University of Chicago, 1982).
Schmidtke, Sabine (ed.). The Oxford Handbook of Islamic Theology (Oxford University Press, 2016). *
Siddiqui, Mona. The Good Muslim: Reflections on Law and Theology (Cambridge University Press, 2014). *
Sirry, Mun'im. Scriptural Polemics: The Qur'an and Other Religions (Oxford University Press, 2014).
Winter, Timothy (ed.). The Cambridge Companion to Classical Islamic Theology (Cambridge University Press, 2008). *
|Graduate Attributes and Skills
||The course aims to contribute to the development of a number of graduate attributes, including
Ability to pursue independent research.
Capacity to engage in nuanced and winsome debate, both in written form with printed scholarship and orally with their fellow classmates.
Synthesise and present complex material in a clear and coherent fashion, both in written and oral form.
Organise your own learning, including identifying resources, planning and outlining essays, and preparing your time.
|Keywords||Islamic Theology; Philosophical Theology; Kalam; Islamic Thought
|Course organiser||Dr Joshua Ralston
Tel: (0131 6)50 8928
|Course secretary||Miss Rachel Dutton
Tel: (0131 6)50 7227